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Gaia Hotel & Reserve
Ranked #3 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed December 17, 2008

I selected this hotel due to the overwhelming positive reviews on Tripadvisor. I later also learned that this hotel is considered a "small luxury hotel," which was a bonus.

We arrived at the Gaia and found that the staff immediately assisted us with our luggage (a short golf cart ride) to the reception area. We were greeted politely and offered a mixed fruit juice, complete with an umbrella and pieces of fresh fruit for garnish. Check in was simple and easy. We were given a personal tour of the facility and our bags were transported to our room.

The room was perfect for two people, but there were three of us staying, and it was a little cramped for all of us. Most of the rooms at the Gaia are intended to accommodate two people traveling together. I was informed (after I arrived) that the hotel does not offer rooms with two "real" beds unless you book the villa, which has two full bedrooms. There was a king size bed and a couch pull-out bed in the room we stayed in. The pull out wasn't the most comfortable, but do-able.

The hotel offers many wonderful amenities, including a Naturalist who will take you on a walk through the Reserve and educate you about wildlife, a fantastic restaurant, complimentary internet/computer printing, day-time complimentary shuttle service to/from Quepos and Manuel Antonio, pool-side bar with a new "drink of the day" each day, fitness center and yoga classes, and a great full-service spa.

The staff was wonderful and accommodating. They can arrange a variety of tours for you and have a book in each hotel room that outlines the local tour attractions. They happily obliged with most every request, and made it a point to call us by name when we interacted with them in the restaurant, reception area, and spa.

The view from most of the hotel is one to be remembered. On one side of the hotel, you can view the mountains and on the other side, you can overlook the ocean. Expect humid, warm weather. Bring bug spray if you plan to do any outdoor activities. Fantastic sunset views! This is truly a 5-star experience that we will never forget.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank rkotlow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,315 - 1,321 of 1,581 reviews

Reviewed December 13, 2008

We enjoyed our stay at Gaia. The room size was large and well decorated. The turndown service was a nice touch and housekeeping did small things like removing mud from our shoes after a long day of hiking. I was surprised by the amount of mold and strong smell from the bathroom and shower but I suppose it is the tropics, but a good cleaning with bleach would have helped.
The food was good. Breakfast was included and had a wide variety of choices, although they way the servers make money is through an autogratuity based on a flat price for breakfast which is included. Lunch was fine - we enjoyed what we had but highly recommend La Habitacion down the street.
The pool was odd. Although the infinity edge on the third level is very nice, the second level deck can only be reached by wading through the pool. They were also working on the deck so it wasn't tranquil with the sanding and staining. Service at the pool ranged from fantastic to nonexistant. We ordered drinks one day and waited and waited for the bartender to return so we could sign for them and finally left. About four hours later, after a hike and during our nap, we were interrupted by a knocking on the door by the bartender for a signature.
Go to the rooftop for the sunset - the views are fantastic!
The reserve was very muddy and based on feedback from others, it should be seen with a guide.
Manuel Antonio is nice - the beach is not crowded but remember to buy stuff outside the park since there's no vendors inside thepark itself. You'll enjoy the monkeys, sloths etc.
Downtown is gritty and not particularly recommended except for a few "sodas", local places to find good cheap eats. We went downtown our first night and didn't feel safe. Poor lighting, a bus station with lots of people milling around, and very few places open (Sunday evening).
Take a flight versus driving if you can. The flight to SanJose was 20 minutes. We heard horror stories of drives of 4-5 hours from SanJose.
Enjoy Costa Rica. The Gaia is not the nicest place we stayed but the people were friendly, the location was good and it was very relaxing. Note --- if you do not rent a car, it is dangerous to walk the narrow, hilly streets at night. Take a cab for 2-4000 colones.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ChicagoBeachguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2008

My husband and I just returned from five nights at Gaia, and we have many good things to say about the hotel. We had a wonderful time and were impressed with the hotel but did not find it up to five star standards.

Room: Our room was spacious and beautiful and had a great view of the rainforest. The room was kept very clean, and the turn-down service was lovely. We were surprised not to find slippers and an ironing board and iron in the room, as we thought they were required in five star hotels. The biggest inconvenience, however, was the shower / tub combo. I have never visited a five star hotel without a separate tub and shower, and Gaia's combination of jacuzzi tub with shower was particularly dangerous. I slipped getting in or out of the shower three separate times, even though I was being very careful and we had towels on the floor to prevent us from slipping.

Staff / Excursions: The staff was exceptionally friendly, knowledgable, and professional. They helped us book a variety of excursions and even did research to help us with unusual excursion requests. They really could not have been more helpful. The cart and van drivers were also great. William, the naturalist / guide that works with the hotel, is amazing. He is so knowledgable that we wish he could have been the guide on every tour we took! We learned so much from him and saw every monkey and sloth in the jungle. :)

Food: We were pretty unimpressed with the food, and we are food lovers. Breakfast was by far the best meal, and the service in the morning seemed more coordinated. Tapas were also good, as were the cocktails (thank you Stephen!). Although the menu items always sounded great, we were disappointed with the quality of the food when it arrived, even when we did receive what we ordered. My order was confused on a number of occasions, and the waiters did not seem to communicate with each other at all. Gaia needs to hire a captain or experienced waiter to make the service in the dining room more coordinated -- it was so confused as to be quite comical by the time we left. Room service was good except that they did not bring water. This made no sense to me, unless the hotel is trying to get you to buy the water from the mini-bar. That is pretty tacky, especially since water has been free at every five star hotel (and even some with fewer starts) where we have stayed.

Pool / Grounds: The reserve is beautiful, and we recommend taking the morning tour. The pool, however, is poorly designed. There is very little seating, and you actually have to wade through the pool to get to some of the seating. There is pretty much no pool service whatsoever, which was quite a shock at a hotel claiming five stars. There was no one to bring your towels to your chair, take drink orders, etc. I am not even sure how that would be accomplished with him having to wade through the pool to get to you. Not well thought out. We found it more relaxing to lay and read in our room instead, but this option lacks the sun and scenery.

Would I recommend staying at Gaia? Definitely. It is a beautiful hotel with an excellent staff. We stayed in a medium-sized room that was pretty much right for the price. I just think if you spend a lot of money on one of the more expensive suites and expect a five star experience, you are destined to be disappointed.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank curlyjoeNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2008

I have never been more overwhelmed and impressed by a hotel in all of my travels.

My wife and I have just returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica. We stayed at two hotels, Hotel Gaia in Manuel Antonio and Hotel Punta Islita in Playa Carillo. Just to prove that I am not easily impressed, you can read my scathing review of Hotel Punta Islita.

Hote Gaia exceeded all of our expectations. This is a truly 5-star resort in every way. The staff is so professional, courteous and attentive. The food was AMAZING and so reasonably priced. The rooms had a beatiful boutique feel.

We had the pleasure of meeting the hotel's owner who was so kind. His passion for his hotel was very evident and this passion is clearly contagious with the entire staff.

The hotel is very well maintaned. The place is spotless. The staff is always cleaning. In fact, the owner told us that every room is completely redone every 6 months to maintain that clean, new look.

I would recommend Hotel Gaia to anyone who is considering travelling to Costa Rica. In fact, I would recommend Hotel Gaia to anyone who is looking for a travel destination. With Hotel Gaia, the hotel is the main attraction and Costa Rica just happens to be the backdrop.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank HonestCorey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2008

My husband and I spent three wonderful days at the Gaia near Quepos in November, 2007. We were with three other couples and all of us truly enjoyed the property, the staff and Quepos. The reception staff was very helpful in booking our transportation to and from San Jose, arranging for us to go on a rain forrest adventure with zip lines.

We had an incredible room with a view of the rain forrest canopy. I awakened one morning to the song of a bird and quietly went out on my balcony with my binoculars to watch the birds, a sloth - who did what sloths do best, just hang around and a family of monkees.

One day was spent at the multi-level pool enjoying lunch and drinks while floating around the pool in the rain. Danny, the wonderful bartender/server/driver told us much about the Ticos and area of Quepos.

I would definitely go back to Costa Rica just to stay at Gaia.

2  Thank LauraSmigi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2008

For our 25th Wedding Anniversary, I wanted to book only 5 star properties. Gaia was the third stop on our trip and a 5 star hotel all the way.. and what a place to stay and complete our vist to Costa Rica. We had a Deluxe Suite with rooftop terrace along with the Gourmet Food and Wine Package. We could not have been more pleased. The accommodations were excellent and the food WONDERFUL. If you book this package and go away hungry, you only have yourself to blame. The rooftop terrace was wonderful, unfortunely the weather did not allow use to enjoy it as much as we would have liked, luckly there was also a terrace just off the suite that allowed us to enjoy the outside without getting wet! But what a wonderful surprise when we were enjoying our Tapas and cocktails on the covered terrace, when we saw the Squirrel Monkeys right in front of us! This hotel is so quaint and the owners wonderful. We felt so welcome here just like we were family.

We also met the Chief, and what wonder food he prepares. I was initially concerned about the Gourmet Food and Wine package, as I am not a big seafood lover, but the menu was extensive and had something for everyone. We did not have anything we did not enjoy!! The Ribeye here was better than another well known 5 star hotel we stayed at during our trip and the Mahi Mahi (one seafood I enjoy) was mouth watering. The staff was so kind and helpful. I cannot say enough about our experience. We highly recommend this place, and will stay here again when we return to Costa Rica. To the owners, we wish you the best, you have a wonderful hotel and made us feel very special!!

We were also luck to see Howler, White Face and the Squirrel Monkeys on our vist to the Manuel Antonio National Park!!!

Stayed: October 2008
1  Thank GandLlovestotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 15, 2008

We spent two nights at Gaia. Chose it, in part, because of TripAdvisor reviews. Rooms are spacious and elegant. Great views. We chose a suite with a rooftop terrace. That was probably unnecessary.

Shower/jacuzzi tub combo was neat, though the jets were weak. You can open window while in the shower and see the view over the terrace.

WiFi didn't work in our room (not sure they really have it) but there were ethernet jacks that worked just fine.

Spa was great - we got a couples massage.

Staff was very helpful.

Restaurant is excellent, with stunning view.

Long drive from Alajuela.

I did a few blog posts about our trip on my Albany Lawyer blog (Google: "Albany Lawyer Costa Rica"). Not sure if tripadvisor will allow the url, but:

http://albany-lawyer.blogspot.com/2008/11/costa-rica-some-thoughts.html

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank wredlich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gaia Hotel & Reserve

Address: Km 2.7 Carretera Quepos a Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio 6350, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#1 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#2 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $202 - $479 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Gaia Hotel & Reserve 4.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gaia Hotel, Manuel Antonio's only 5-star resort and dining. Bask in our infinity-edge pools, dash Aveda bath salts into your Jacuzzi and relax enjoying the jungle and ocean views. Rooms feature A/C, cable, flat screen TVs, portable phones, home entertainment units, internet connectivity, coffee-maker, mini-bar, safety box, hairdryer, 24/7 room service and full spa services. Your personal valet sees to your needs, and our Nature Guide hosts an exclusive tour of our 12-acre Nature Reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gaia Hotel And Reserve
Gaia Hotel & Reserve Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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